In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

BOOK REVIEWS overworked theoretical templates to textual material. Her readings of core texts are sharp and incisive; indeed the articulation of the hypothesis in the early chapters might have been even more tellingly balanced by extended textual analysis and less abstract reiteration. Yet the crisp, penetrating discussions of Ford, Richardson and Woolf bring the book to a convincing conclusion. By revealing "English feminine identity" as "a precondition for a fully European experimental art," Katz issues a stimulating invitation to rethink existing maps of modernism and women's writing. Maureen Moran ______________ Brunei University Outside Modernism Lynne Hapgood and Nancy L. Paxton, eds. Outside Modernism: In Pursuit of the English Novel, 1900-30. London: Macmillan, 2000. xi + 258pp. $55.00 WE ARE NOW past that liminal year 2000, when it was still possible to claim, with the support of certain mathematicians, that we were yet living in the twentieth century. It is to be hoped that the retrospective status the last century has attained will bring constructive changes to the study of its literature. Up until now, most academic responses to those twentieth-century British texts denied the label "modernist"— with the exception of works considered colonial/postcolonial—have ranged from discomfort to dismissal. Critical studies that have attempted to rescue such texts from the wilderness have so far tended to do so by simply expanding the definition of modernism, extending the canon's protection to unfortunate but deserving literary orphans, a tactic Nancy L. Paxton argues "capitulates to the hegemonic power of the term 'modernist.'" Paxton and Lynne Hapgood, editors of Outside Modernism: In Pursuit of the English Novel, 1900-30, offer other strategies, exciting and overdue, for the study of twentieth-century English literature that falls "outside modernism," strategies that recognize the considerable gaps at the peripheries of modernism that have always allowed for its commerce with other literary practices and traditions. In their preface, the editors express their desire "to move outside the use of the term modernism as a kind of literary taxonomy and to reconceptualize the relationship between modernism and its early twentieth-century doppelgänger, realism ," and this intention to trouble the perceived exclusivity of the relationship between modernist and realist praxis connects the best of 443 ELT 45 : 4 2002 the essays here, which represent the work of American and British scholars. While questioning periodization and challenging taxonomies have become obligatory gestures in literary studies, at those moments when Hapgood and Paxton take issue with "the familiar critical assumption that modernism is the only effective inscription of modernity," a truly subversive and discomposing desire emerges, one that underlies the volume's decorous, explicit intention to "re-evaluate the English novel of the early twentieth century": that is, to undermine, indeed explode , the traditional category of "modernism," to free all twentiethcentury texts from such circumscription. Not surprisingly, the editors' individual introductory essays—Paxton 's "Eclipsed by Modernism" and Hapgood's "Transforming the Victorian "—provide some of the strongest expressions of this critical vision. Hapgood invites us to consider our "continuing failure to appreciate the range of transformations at work in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries." Among the most successful essays in this regard is Lyn Pykett's "Writing Around Modernism: May Sinclair and Rebecca West"; even as it resurrects disregarded New Woman writers of the fin de siècle and their "feminine" textual preoccupations (with the sentimental, the past, mysticism, and "low" culture), it not only makes a persuasive case for radically rethinking the gendering of modernism, but also urges us "to rethink what modernism is" and to see both male and female authors as at once inside and outside it. One of the more intriguing possibilities Paxton's introductory contribution proposes as emerging from her critical approach is the disruption of classifications identifying the colonial /postcolonial novel, moving not only outside modernism, but also beyond the label "English" by "demonstrathng] the increasing indefiniteness of'national' identities in this period." The "unexamined nationalism that has shaped the canon" of which Paxton speaks, however, remains largely unexamined in the essays that follow, with the exception of her own piece, "Reconsidering Colonial Romance: Maud Diver and the Ethnographic Real." Paxton concludes her introduction with the...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 443-446
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Will Be Archived 2021
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.